Exploring Solar Open Access: Dynamics and Implications in the Power Sector

Exploring the Dynamics of Solar Open Access in the Power Sector

Solar power is indisputably one of the most abundant sources of renewable energy available. Now with the increased realization of the need to resort to replenishable sources of power, solar energy systems are on the rise. Many domestic and industrial consumers are setting up solar power systems on their premises. The solar sector also has support from the government through various policies and subsidies

Apart from the distribution companies, there is an option for larger power consumers (consumption of more than 1MW) to buy power from other suppliers. This is called the open access market. In this blog, we have delved deep into what solar open access is, and the dynamics associated with the same.

Solar Open Access

What is solar open access?

Open access, as the name suggests, is an open market where consumers can buy power directly from power producers. There is a long-term agreement between the industrial and commercial consumers of electricity and the power developer. 

Normally, consumers are dependent upon Distribution Companies (DISCOM) for power, where they pay a fixed rate fixed by the local DISCOM. This way, consumers are able to get power at optimum rates that are less than that paid to DISCOM. 

Nearly 1.9 GW of renewable energy has been added through open access installations in 2022. This is due to more and more consumers looking to reduce carbon emissions and fall in the cost of renewable energy through open access.

Types of solar open-access

There are two types of open access, namely:

Interstate open access

In interstate open access, a consumer is allowed to purchase power from a distributor outside the state as well. Here, the regulations levied by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission need to be complied with. It allows for short, medium, and long-term open access. 

Intra-state open access

When the power distribution company and the purchaser belong to the same state, it is intra-state open access. Here, the regulations of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission have to be followed. Short- and long-term open access is allowed in the case of intra-state open access.

The dynamics of solar open access

In spite of the popularity and increase in consumers moving toward open access, there seem to be some hiccups. We shall discuss the roadblocks and the road forward for solar open access here:

The Roadblocks

Road Forward

To make solar open access available without any hurdles, a way forward should be explored. Some of the points to note are:

Conclusion

Solar power is one of the cleanest forms of energy and is an excellent replacement for conventional sources of power. Various government policies are in favour of promoting solar power in India. With this, open access is an exceptional way to bring in more consumers for solar power. 

Understanding the roadblocks and bringing in the necessary changes will need a combined effort of policymakers, distribution companies, and consumers. This will go a long way in improving the country’s energy independence.

Frequently
Asked Questions



Open access lets consumers pick their power developer based on tariffs and many other factors.

The flexibility in rates and subsidies available are some favourable points to choose open access.

No, open access can be inter-state also. Consumers should take note of the regulations in both states before choosing.

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